Change Agent Rainer Gimbel is leading change for Evonik Industries AG, a leader in the Specialty Chemicals industry. To convince 33,000 colleagues to change work habits they’ve used for the last 10-15 years, requires a lot of evangelizing, change management and sometimes… poetry.
Or, How John Hagel, David Armano, Hugh MacLeod and Harold Jarche Kickstarted Me.
Here’s how it began.
2011 Back story: In my MarComms job, I had two projects front of mind – launching an Enterprise Social Network (we were the first company in the world to completely replace our intranet with Yammer) and developing a bunch of infographics on business performance (turning heavy PowerPoint slides into something more digestible). Independently, I was mentoring some young communicators who were trying to work out their pitch and career paths.
I spent a lot of time thinking about these topics; with plenty of online research. I was working out how to not just understand these topics, but put them into practice. I was on twitter rather passively, following a fist full of thought leaders – among them meme capturer / destroyer Hugh MacLeod, (Center of the) Edge thinker John Hagel and the social / design maven David Armano.
I also helped edit some resumes; and ended up updating mine (I was called to account for having a very out of date one) but was disappointed in the outcome – it did not capture the essence and depth of what I felt I could offer.
Then, one day, the three topics coalesced around a single idea: develop a social (shareable) infographic resume, for myself, as an intellectual exercise in creating content that people want to talk about and share, that allows them to know me better / deeper, and that drives my own career trajectory (I was not looking for a new job, but I did want to own my career path more keenly.)
That process lead to the development of the personal branding BrandBoards product. But there’s more.
Soon after, I was invited by Yammer to attend a Customer Advisory Board meeting in San Francisco, and to present on the social journey we had been on using yammer-as-intranet. I met many corporate social technology mavens there, real thought leaders and active practitioners. Who was on as keynote before me? None other than John Hagel. Neat. It was a most inspiring event, and one name came up a few times as someone to follow and study: Harold Jarche.
No-one has since guided my own social journey more than Jarche. Deep, patient, profound, inviting, his writing and approach to net work is something I have appropriated for myself (the approach, not the writing!)
Flying back to Vancouver from that event, I was both lifted and highly focused. I needed to show up differently at work, to stake a claim for a new way of working, to work out loud.
And touching down in YVR, I saw some tweets about Armano being in town the next day and hosting a Q&A. Synchronicity. I went along, had a chat about ESNs and social business. Things were moving.
I have been a fairly heavy poster / participant in the Yammer Customer Network over time, especially in the ‘thought leadership’ category. Therein I cultivated relationships with many strong, vibrant social leaders.
That lead, via Ernst Décsey, to an invite to a new, progressive group of social business (or whatever we are calling it today) leaders who were developing a new model of working around change, social, network theory.
Rather fraudulently, I joined Change Agents Worldwide (CAWW) crew here, and suddenly I was (virtual) face-to-face with people whose content and ideas I had used and pushed inside my own organization: the amazing graphics of Joachim Stroh; working out loud with Bryce Williams; sharing wirearchically with Jon Husband; and then, (network theory crush!) The Jarche himself!
Now, why did I write all this? Oh yes, to talk about friendship, and trust.
The social journey for me has been an immense undertaking as I uncouple the vestiges of my (the?) old ways of thinking and embrace the opposites of what I have known to be normal:
In this process, on this journey, I have made new friends, quick friends, high trust friends, guiding friends, virtual friends. I am sure neither John Hagel nor David Armano remember who I am [Update: Armano told me he did remember me. Nice.], but they are still friends, because they have given freely and I have received gratefully, and amplified their gifts to others. From them and others, I have learned to ask “How can I help?” to strangers with no distinct quid pro quo other than, we are all in this together.
“Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. … Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn.
The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise.
After that day, we become seekers.”
I return to it regularly for two reasons. As a parent to two young kids I get to see through their clear eye every day. Also, it helps me reflect on how in the last few years I, too, have become a seeker again. Much of that is down to social, virtual friends who have let me into their trust.
And what of Hugh MacLeod? Well, I have yet to meet him so, for now, one of his limited edition prints above the toilet will have to suffice.
Defining categories of communities can be done in many many different ways: e.g. by size (small, medium, large, humongous), types of people in the community (internal employees vs. external clients vs both), etc.
There are so many different types of communities that to be honest, it can scare away even the hardiest of requester for a new community. Last week I talked about the first step that must happen with requesting community managers, setting expectations. Inside that post, I mentioned that some well intended requests come without knowing much about what a community could do for them. So to help them understand what is available, I have often used the following examples to help the types of communities they could build
Pushy Community – Not much of a community, but still there is the need for them in enterprises (hopefully rarely). Success is defined as people reading the information)
Interactive Pushy Community – This is the first real level of a community, where the push of information is accompanied with the ability to like, rate, and comment with the posts. The community can’t post new messages, but they can interact with what is posted, allowing them to engage with the content and the content creators. Success is defined as people read the information and interact and engage with the content.
Interactive Community – The community is built so that the community members interact with each other, collaborating on documents, asking questions, getting answers, and sharing information with each other. Sometimes email is used to get the community re-engaged or to get the word out on the most important of information. The success of the community is defined by people almost fully interacting and engaging in the community and occasionally relying on tools outside the community to interact with each other.
Collaborative Community – The community is built so that the community members interact solely using the collaborative tools available, collaborating interacting, engaging with each other within the community. Success for this community is when the community members use the tools available to exclusively collaborate with each other and do not use external tools to collaborate. (e.g. no email).
Inter Collaborative Community – The community is built much the same way as the collaborative community, but instead of just collaborating within the community, the community members collaborate inside the community and with other communities and groups. This community knows they are successful when each of the community members are always using collaborative tools in their day to day interactions.
You can classify communities how ever you would like. In the above examples, I have laid out some examples of types of communities and how the communities would work, with the hope that when I describe these to an unknowing new community manager, they can pick a type and drive their community to success.
How would you classify communities to a new community manager? Would you use the same descriptions or would you describe them differently? If you used the above example, would you add or subtract from the list? For each of the above types of communities, what would you say make these communities successful?